Authors: Elle Thorne
3 of Shifters Forever After: A spin off series of Shifters Forever.
olar bear shifter
Jonah Romanoff’s got one goal. Be the best agent he can be in the Paranormal Unit of InterForce.
He didn’t expect his ex to show up, prying into his secrets, opening up a can of worms, and throwing his bear and his heart into pandemonium.
Curvy falcon shifter Fiona hasn’t told him the truth about why she broke it off. Now she has to figure out why he’s lying to her.
Except the secrets don’t seem to matter as much when the motivation becomes saving the life of the one you love.
f you can’t click
, just put this in your browser:
his was a bad fucking idea
The epic fail of bad ideas. Accepting Miriam Romanoff’s invitation to join the Romanoffs for Christmas dinner would go down in Fiona Forester’s history as the most epically stupid thing she’d done.
Who accepts to have dinner at the home of her ex’s family?
Falcon shifter Fiona fiddled with the silverware Miriam had set out.
Me. Total idiot. Me. Totally.
It wasn’t a big damned surprise that Jonah wasn’t here.
One of his brothers must have told him I’d be here.
Fiona looked at Ky—Malachi Romanoff. Ky had his hand on his mate’s stomach and was beaming a smile about her pregnancy. They’d just announced Laken would be having his baby.
Was it Ky who told? Or Isaac? She turned her glance to the other Romanoff brother. Isaac was all google-eyed about his new mate, Cadence Araya, Laken’s sister.
Neither Ky nor Isaac looked particularly guilty. Why would they? They wouldn’t feel bad about warning Jonah. Of course, they’d take their brother’s side on this matter. She couldn’t blame them for that.
Fiona glanced at Mikhail Romanoff, the boys’ uncle. Maybe he spilled the beans. Mikhail had raised all three boys after they lost their parents. He probably wouldn’t talk to her at all.
Ugh. Why did I accept Miriam’s invitation?
Fiona glanced at Miriam, an arctic fox shifter, curvy, like all the rest of them, only with a few more curves, an easy smile, and a twinkle in her eyes. She caught Fiona watching her. The smile broadened and she gave a little nod, almost as if she were saying that Fiona shouldn’t worry, that Jonah’s absence had nothing to do with her.
A knock at the door made everyone quiet down. Heads turned. In Fiona’s stomach a knot took root. She shook it off. There was no reason to fret. That wasn’t Jonah. She didn’t sense his polar bear. Her falcon would surely have picked up his bear’s presence.
Were they expecting someone else? They hadn’t said, but then again, it’s not like Fiona was part of the planning committee.
Miriam excused herself and made for the door, with Mikhail close behind her, always ever mindful of his mate. Fiona had known the Romanoffs for years. She’d always admired the way Mikhail cared for his mate. She hoped she could have the same one day.
You had that with Jonah,
her falcon reminded her.
And you know why that didn’t work,
she reminded her falcon back.
She studied her fork to keep from having to look at his brothers and their questioning glances. She knew she didn’t belong here.
They’d had this discussion too many times in the years since she and Jonah had parted ways. Her falcon knew damned well there was nothing that could be done about the matter. It was for Jonah’s own good.
She dropped the fork on the plate, it clattered loudly, but not loudly enough to drown out that voice.
His voice. God. He still did it for her. Just hearing one sentence had made her body react. A flood, a tightening, a pulse that throbbed at her core.
Goddamn him. And I couldn’t even tell what the hell he just said.
Yup, that was the effect that damned sexy ass polar bear shifter had on her.
You’d think she’d have gotten over him. Replaced him.
The only thing she’d replaced him with was in her nightstand drawer and ran on batteries. And that was a damned sorry excuse for a replacement, but it beat the hell out of having to fake interest in another man. There was no way in hell another man could make her feel the things he had.
Her falcon screeched in her mind, the shrieking made Fiona want to cover her ears, but she knew that wouldn’t do any good. The sound was in her mind.
Stop. Please. Stop.
The falcon kept up the high-pitched vocalizations.
I can’t understand anything you’re saying. Stop!
onah Romanoff followed
his aunt and uncle into the dining room.
“I’m sorry I’m late. It’s a case. Kept me busy.”
“On Christmas day?” Aunt Miriam frowned. “It’s a holiday. A federal holiday.”
“Criminals don’t take a holiday, Miriam.” Uncle Mikhail kissed her on the cheek. “I’m starving. Let’s eat.”
“Me t—” Jonah froze.
No. It couldn’t be.
Here to fuck my life up. As if it’s not fucked up enough.
He clenched his jaw, fought the urge to make tight fists and drive them through the wall.
He wished he could scent her. He wished he could have known she was here in advance. He couldn’t have.
He studied the woman who’d taken his heart ages ago. The woman he’d almost taken as his mate. The woman who still had his heart, except now it was in shambles—a desolate barren environment where nothing grew.
His broken heart was one thing, but his cock sure as hell wasn’t broken.
His loins burned with the need to be deep within her again. She was his mate. He mourned her. Her blond hair was pulled back, exposing the neck he used to love to kiss and nibble on. The neck that led to that spot near her shoulder where he’d almost couple-bonded her the night before she broke it off between them.
Her gaze was concentrated on the fork that had cracked the dinner plate. He didn’t need preternatural shifter vision to see that she’d broken Aunt Miriam’s fine china.
Fiona’s eyes glistened, as if she were fighting tears, those blue eyes he’d loved looking into, the blue eyes he’d gotten lost in so many times.
Not tears for me, that’s for sure. She’s the one who dumped me.
He nodded at her, though he knew his eyes were throwing lethal weapons.
Fiona looked down, her eyelashes casting shadows on her high cheekbones. Her expression sparked an emotion in him.
It took everything he had not to run to her, to take her into his arms, to claim her.
Instead he turned to his aunt. “You’ve been busy.” He let his tone carry that it wasn’t lost on him that she’d manipulated the situation to have Fiona here. Oh, yeah, he blamed his aunt for this for sure.
And of course, it figures that of all the people in the world, the one who knows me best would be here…
…at a time like this.
The worst time of all.
iona took stock of Jonah
. The years had been kind to him. Oh, who was she kidding; the man would look good no matter what. To her anyway. Dirty blond hair, with those startling cornflower eyes, a wide chest that looked like it still rippled into the vee she’d known oh-so-damned well for the best two years of her life.
She bit the sigh back, a sigh at the effect he still had on her.
She waited for her falcon to calm down while Jonah was throwing machetes at her with his eyes. Those light blue eyes, once so caring, once glowing with love for her.
Hatred. Pure undisguised hatred.
Finally, her falcon slowed down and dropped the volume enough for Fiona to pick out a word or two of what it yelled at her.
Bear? What’s wrong with his bear?
Her falcon began that infernal screeching.
You have got to stop that and communicate with me.
The shrieking began to die down.
What do you mean his bear’s not there? How can that be?
But in her heart, Fiona knew something was up. She didn’t sense his arrival. She didn’t know he was there until she heard his voice.
But his bear couldn’t be gone.
That’s not how it works.
How did it work?
her cracked plate and acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but Fiona knew her good china mattered to her. It had been handed down for generations. She wished she could sink into the flooring.
Dinner was an exercise in torture.
Fiona didn’t look up from her meal, but at the same time couldn’t have named a single item on her plate. She’d mixed it, stirred it, moved it around, but none of it made its way to her mouth.
She was very aware of his presence across from her, even if she couldn’t feel his bear.
She hoped they’d have a break between dinner and dessert so she could talk to Jonah. She had to tell him the news and she needed to find out what was going on with his bear.
Fiona got her wish.
Between everyone helping to clean and chattering about Laken’s pregnancy, she noticed Jonah had slipped out to the balcony.
Feeling quite stalkerish, she followed him outside. She pushed the feeling aside. This was important.
He didn’t turn around to face her when she followed him outside. That wasn’t a good sign. His bear didn’t notice her arrival?
In Fiona’s mind, her falcon began a low chirping sound, one of sadness.
Fiona cleared her throat to get his attention.
Jonah turned. The smile vanished as soon as he saw who’d joined him. “What do you want?”
She gulped down her trepidation and wished she could gulp down the way he made her feel as well. “You could be friendlier.”
His jaw muscles worked. “No reason to be. Why are you here?”
“Your aunt invited me.”
Jonah’s eyes narrowed to slits. “You should have declined. What are you doing in town anyway? Didn’t you transfer from Colorado to California?”
She wasn’t about to answer that. Not here. Not now. “Where’s your bear?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Your bear. I—my falcon can’t hear him, sense him, anything him.”
“Maybe he has no interest in touching base with your falcon.”
She studied him. He rubbed his jaw, on the left side, his tell.
Why is he lying?
“Why doesn’t your family know you’re on leave?”
His eyes gave it away. The slightest blink. “It’s none of their business.”
She nodded. Who was this new and guarded Jonah? Had she really hurt him that much? “Why
you on leave?”
“It’s none of your business either.” More jaw muscle movement. “How do you know I was on— Never mind. Let’s discuss this somewhere other than my family’s Christmas dinner, if you don’t mind.”
“Fine. Let’s go somewhere.”
“After this. I still live in the same place.”
“After this.” She knew where. It was the same apartment they’d shared their lives, secrets, hearts, souls. Now she’d have to walk in and pretend that never happened. And pretend he wasn’t still the only man for her.
Fuck Jonah Romanoff.
onah paced his apartment
. He’d been here for an hour and then some. And she’d left his aunt and uncle’s an hour before he did, making some excuse about an early morning.
Isn’t she coming?
Maybe she made up that excuse as a means to avoid coming over to talk to him.
A part of him was crestfallen—okay, okay—all of him was. It wasn’t a crime to admit he still had feelings for her.
But I shouldn’t. She dumped me.
He wanted an answer to that. He’d ask her when she came by. He deserved an explanation.
Maybe she’s not coming by.
Why did it matter to him? Why was it…
God, when I need my bear the most…
A knock at the door drew him up short. It was a soft knock, yet loaded with trepidation and an assortment of other emotions.
Really? I’ve lost it. Now, I’m interpreting knocks on doors?
I’m a regular door whisperer.
He pulled the door open, it didn’t budge.
What the fuck?
He unlocked it, pulled again.
He’d lost it clearly—so confused by Fiona’s presence he was forgetting to unlock doors.
I’m so screwed.
She stood before him. Her pale skin ruddy from the cool New York December temperatures. Her cheeks pink from the wind’s bite, her lips red from the cold.
And she’s no longer mine.
He pushed the thought away.
His hand snaked out with the speed of a rattler, locking on her wrist, jerked her into his apartment, nudging the door closed with his foot.
She licked her lower lip and he knew she just had to be giving off that wonderful scent of hers.
Fuck the luck to not be able to scent her.
His cock pressed against his jeans insistently.
Her lips were still parted, but she wasn’t finishing her sentence. Instead her hands shot out and up, surrounding his neck, pulling his face closer to hers.
Fiona thrust her tongue into his mouth, completely demolishing any resolve Jonah had not to kiss her. His cock hardened in a flash, becoming a rigid rod between them. He jerked her body against his, twirled them around, pinned her to the wall with this frame.
He pulled her coat, stripping her of it.
Mine. Mine. Mine.
The word reverberated in his mind, a place that had been a confusing and hollow empty void, now that his bear wasn’t around.
Air made its way into his body, though he’d be damned if he knew how because it felt like his breathing apparatus had shut down. In fact, it felt like everything had shut down and the world was traveling in slow motion around him.
Time had frozen, traffic outside had become a distant sound, not penetrating the bubble being with Fiona created.
Though her body was pinned against the wall, she pressed her mound against his cock.
A fierce tug on her top sent buttons scattering, revealing a dark red bra topped with lace. He licked his lips at the vision, her full mounds overflowing the generous cups and her nipples, hard buttons that pressed the satin half of the bra outward.
He groaned at the sight of her bounty, and raised a hand, cupping one breast, allowing his thumb to tease the tempting peak.
Her moan sent him into a new dimension. His other hand traveled lower, releasing her pants and tugging at them while she shimmied her hips until the fabric was pooled around her feet.
The need to be in her was overwhelming, driving Jonah forward with a raging intensity. He rubbed his body against hers, breathing deeply. He pressed his swollen rod against her mound, and felt the evidence of her desire instantly.
He lowered himself, pushing her legs apart, trailing his tongue down her soft skin, leaving feathery kisses on her flesh.
He settled his face between her legs, letting his hot breath touch her lips, caressing the clean shaven area. Just the way he liked her. Bare and ready to be eaten.
As soon as she felt his breath on her nether lips, she sunk her fingertips into his scalp, digging them in, scoring the skin, breaking flesh.
It drove him into a more primal state of need. He slipped a finger against her wet slit, moisture slickening his digit. Raising his other hand, he spread her open, wide, enjoying the view of her beautiful pink and red pussy.
God, but he’d missed this woman, her body. It was perfect. Perfectly curved, just for him. Her pussy crafted to be his.
He unhooded her clit, the bud glistening in the dim light. He drew in the pink-tipped core into his mouth, sucking it, flicking with his tongue while she drove her mound into his face, grinding herself against him.
He licked from below her slit all the way to her clit, not allowing his tongue to slip in more than a millimeter, enjoying the tortured moan she made.
His cock throbbed in his pants, painfully reminding him how badly he wanted her.
Jonah pushed it away. First, he wanted her pleasure.
“So delicious. Like the ripest strawberries,” he murmured, the juices dripping down his face the way biting into an overripe juicy fruit would.
“Please, Jonah. Don’t make me wait.” She ground into his face, moving her body back and forth, seeking release.
Her clit was swollen with desire, her lips soaking with her need for him. He flicked his tongue, back and forth, over and over, while her torso threw into a spasm.
He shoved two fingers in her and she contracted her muscles around his fingers, releasing her flow into his palm, riding his hand while his tongue flicked at her clit.
He lapped her creaminess, his tongue slipping in with his fingers seeking purchase toward her G-spot.
He could do no more. He couldn’t take another moment of her sweet climaxes without joining with her.
He pushed her down, freeing his cock with one hand while the other held him up, so his weight wouldn’t crush her.
spread wide and wrapped around Jonah’s hips. Jonah’s thick shaft with its deliciously wide mushroom head pressed against her, nudging for entrance. She arched her back, pressing him in the slightest bit.
“Fuck me, Jonah. Take me.”
Punish me for walking out on the best thing that’s ever happened to me. For walking out on my mate.
He surged forward with a mighty thrust, sinking his girth deeply inside, pushing her to a new limit, stretching her body, taking her to a new level of pleasure merged with pain. She clung to his shoulders, digging her nails into his back while he plunged into her, deeper and deeper, over and over.
He wrapped an arm around her, lifted her, and carried her to the bed, and within seconds she was on top of him, his pulsing cock still buried within. She moved her hips, rocking and rolling on him, grinding, driving him so deep it forced tiny gasps from her lips with each powerful thrust he made upward.
His hands on her hips, pressed her against him firmly, locking them together. He pumped like a man driven by demons. She returned each thrust with an equally powerful response.
Never so powerful as this. Never so awed by anything as she was by the connection she had with this man.
He roared her name, drew her down for a kiss, his roar sealed off, she swallowed the sound of his passion as she released her own scream into his mouth.
He exploded, rooting deep into her body, his hardness twitching, his body becoming stiff as his heated stream jetted forth against her back walls. She exploded with him, her own body straightening, muscles rigid, her body refusing to relax as an orgasm ripped throughout.
They collapsed, and he nuzzled her, his cock still hard, still deep. She lay on his rippled stomach and hard chest, hot tears giving evidence to the amount of emotions this man still stirred within her.
“We shouldn’t have done this. Shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.”
She picked up her clothing and slunk out the door, feeling every bit as if she’d betrayed him twice.